Call for Papers: Motifs, Influences, and Narrative Strategies in the Epics of the Medieval East and West

Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, Turkey, 17–18 September 2020

Deadline: 30 March 2020

Organisers: Markéta Kulhánková (Masaryk University, Brno) and Ingela Nilsson (Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul/Uppsala University)

The impetus to organize this workshop is the research project A Narratological Commentary on Digenis Akritis (https://www.muni.cz/en/research/projects/44579), currently ongoing at Masaryk University in Brno and funded by the Czech Science Foundation. The aim of the project is to prepare a book-length commentary discussing the treatment of narrative categories, narrative strategies, literary and oral techniques, motifs, parallels, and influences and also including a summary of historical and philological discussions concerning the poem.

Our ambition is to make this literary work accessible and understandable to a wider audience from different fields. Within the planned workshop, we aim to bring together scholars working on the Digenis poem and related Byzantine genres (in particular vernacular poetry and novels) with specialists in both western and eastern medieval epics. We would like to invite you to discuss the character of these narratives and common problems and challenges for literary historians dealing with medieval epics.

Topics for discussion include but are not restricted to:

• motivic parallels in epics across medieval Europe and the Near East
• the mixing of cultures in border epics
• medieval epics and other genres (influences, interaction)
• epical and other narrative strategies
• medieval epics and narratology
• orality and textuality

Please send an abstract (ca 250 words) for a 20-minute presentation to Markéta Kulhánková by 30 March 2020.

Ruth Macrides

Ruth Macrides

All members of SPBS, and the wider community of Byzantine Studies, will be deeply saddened, and many devastated, to learn of the death of Dr Ruth Macrides on Saturday 27 April 2019.

Ruth was Reader in Byzantine Studies at the University of Birmingham where she had worked for twenty-five years and where she was a much loved colleague and friend. We will miss her terribly.

Our deepest sympathies are extended to her family at this time.

Colleagues in Birmingham have set up a tribute page for Ruth: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/bomgs/news/2019/ruth-macrides.aspx.

Donations in memory of Ruth may be made to Médecins sans Frontières.